Find Your Solution to the Shortage of Australian Chefs | TSS Recruitment

Find Your Solution to the Shortage of Australian Chefs

  • Brendan Halliday

It seems that everywhere we look in the Australian hospitality industry, as 2016 comes to a close, is the continuing drought of skilled, experienced and dedicated staff. Speaking to clients both past and present, we continue to hear the same thing “There is a shortage of chefs and that is growing worse all the time”.

The hospitality skills shortage has been an ever expanding problem in recent years, fuelled by innumerable changes in the Australian industry and wider society. There is set to be more than 123,000 new jobs in the industry by 2020, more vacancies are going unfilled, and we are seeing a decrease in apprenticeship commencements in all major cities.

While many members of the media are quick to blame this increasing shortage on factors like MasterChef glorifying the life of Chefs or a rigid culture around the training of apprentices, very few authorities have any immediate solutions for the thousands of Australian businesses experiencing a shortage of chefs, bakers and other skilled hospitality staff.

A varied and complete approach to local recruitment

Many employers still stick to traditional recruitment methods like paid job ads on boards like Seek, Indeed and Gumtree. It is becoming increasingly clear that these methods alone, while not useless, are now part of a bigger whole in terms of recruiting the right staff. Advertising jobs on social media, and maintaining a good presence on your business page has become important as well. However, while easy to do, it doesn’t net nearly as many results as sometimes promised.

What is clear is that having a prominent and engaging brand across all advertising mediums is the new norm. Australian employers looking to succeed at local recruitment should be across as many online and offline advertising mediums as they are comfortable with - you never know where that next lead will come from.

Forming relationships with local education institutions

Forming and maintaining relationships with our prominent hospitality education institutions and industry bodies can be one of the easiest ways to attract new and promising apprentices into your business. If educators and other industry figureheads have an existing and positive relationship with your business, word of mouth will recruit skilled workers for you.

Retaining and upskilling current staff

Keeping your current staff with you and developing new skills is just as important in managing the skills shortage as employing fresh talent. Many other businesses are trying just as hard as you to find the best chefs in the industry so motivating employees to stay with opportunities to continue learning and move up in your team are great ways to hold on to that talented new apprentice.

Considering Skilled International Staff

Skilled immigration solutions often suffer from the rocky reputation held by those on working holiday and other short-stay visas. In our experience, and more importantly the experience of our clients, skilled and experienced international chefs on long stay visas like the 457 are among the most dedicated and innovative staff currently available to Australian employers.

Rural venue managers like Liz of the Windermere Hotel are some of the worst effected by the shortage of skilled staff, often experiencing a serious drought despite a diverse approach to local recruitment. For these employers international recruitment is a perfect solution. Liz now employs 3 international chefs on long stay visas and almost 2 years down the line they remain reliably enthusiastic in their positions.

“They are a pleasure to deal with” explains Liz, “always smiling and nothing is ever too difficult for them. Every day they are here and every day they are on time.”

TSS Recruitment specialises in helping Australians find the perfect fit for the hospitality team and offering long term solutions. Our chefs, bakers and management staff all have substantial experience and qualifications and the majority are interested in moving to Australia permanently.

While not a solution best suited to every business we pride ourselves on offering the best advice for Australian businesses looking for a solution to their staffing problems. To find out if skilled migration is the change your business needs call TSS Recruitment on 03 9421 1020 or send an enquiry to